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The Back-Up Plan
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Jennifer Lopez stars as Zoe, a single New Yorker who dreams about meeting Mr. Right, having a baby and living happily ever after. But after a string of Mr. Wrongs, Zoe commits to her back-up plan: to take on motherhood alone. Zoe's plan proves far from foolproof when moments after her procedure she's swept up into a whirlwind romance with Stan (Alex O'Loughlin), the man of her dreams. Can Zoe hide her pregnancy until Stan is ready for the truth? Or will the truth send him packing? The Back-Up Plan is a hilarious romantic comedy about courtship, love, marriage and parenthood - but not necessarily in that order!
Jennifer Lopez and Aussie heartthrob Alex O'Loughlin are pitch-perfect foils in the romantic comedy The Back-up Plan--a film that's as light as the foam on a root-beer float, but which manages to be both romantic and very funny. Lopez, after a long absence from the big screen, is a pleasure to watch--an accomplished (and underrated) comedian who can spar and spark with the best of her peers, and better than most. Lopez's chemistry with the dreamy O'Loughlin will engage viewers completely. Lopez plays Zoe, a smart woman whose dating life has been dismal--and who finally decides to become a single mom so she can achieve at least the motherhood she's always desired. As fate would have it, she meets Mr. Perfect (or Mr. Close To It), O'Loughlin's Stan, on the very day she visits the fertility clinic and becomes pregnant with twins. The early stages of their courtship involve Zoe's increasingly desperate measures to conceal her growing belly. By the time she confesses her condition, Stan is smitten--but with hormones on both sides roiling, and reality about to set in as the birth approaches, both Zoe and Stan get cold feet. If the plot of The Back-up Plan is a bit predictable, the flinty performances of both Lopez and O'Loughlin keep the viewer utterly engaged. Supporting actors Eric Christian Olsen, as Zoe's best guy pal, and the lovely and hilarious Michaela Watkins (The New Adventures of Old Christine) turn in terrific performances, too, and cameos by veterans including Albert Klein (as Zoe's hyperenthusiastic doctor), Tom Bosley, and Linda Lavin round out the excellent acting ensemble. The Back-up Plan also features an engaging soundtrack with a danceable tune by Lopez, "What Is Love?" and memorable songs by Colbie Caillat, India.Arie, and more. The Back-up Plan shows that love may not always go according to plan--OK, it never does--but it's worth the ride, however the heart ultimately gets there. --A.T. Hurley
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Having said that, I'm seriously beginning to wonder if there are other gems I've been missing considering I avoid certain genres like the plague. I've seen The Back-up Plan twice now, and as a whole, the movie is hysterically funny and heartfelt, with endearing performances by Alex O'Loughlin (Stan) and Jennifer Lopez (Zoe). And you've just got to love Zoe's dog.
After having watched Mr. O'Loughlin for an entire season of a show where he plays nothing short of a bad-ass guy, albeit with a warmth that bleeds through in even his most butt-kicking moments, it was refreshing to see him in a looser comedic role. The chemistry between him and Ms. Lopez is palpable, and his smiles light up the screen right next to hers.
The story itself, and indeed the movie, were absolute perfection...until it hit a certain point, when it kind of fell apart for me. Now, because this isn't your standard movie review - but instead is my gut reaction to the movie itself - the following is a bit unusual for me. But to say I was disappointed at what had so much potential as a pivotal scene later on in the movie is an understatement. I'm going to warn you, the following contains **SPOILERS** so if you don't want to know about the major conflict from the third act of the movie, don't read the next two paragraphs, which are surrounded by **!
**Right after the giving-birth scene in which Zoe faceplants into the small pool and Stan is so completely shell-shocked he can barely form a coherent sentence, is the scene that did it in for me. What happened was that in a movie that was so cleverly crafted up to that point, we were suddenly thrown one of those embarrassing sitcom misunderstanding moments that not only threw me completely out of a movie I had spent the better part of the evening growing to love, but seemed so awfully contrived and out-of-place that it actually made my gut twist.**
**I'm talking about the moment when Zoe decides that because Stan told "Muffin Girl" that the babies weren't his, it means he doesn't want to be with her or them, and will leave her at some point using that as his excuse. I have to wonder why the director went with that, because as a writer, I can think of at least half a dozen ways the same scene could have gone without Zoe blowing something out of proportion the way you might find a sitcom character doing. In a sitcom, it's fast and funny and (in many cases) deliberately obtuse. In a movie that to this point was such a high-caliber piece of work, it pulled the rug out from under me and made it difficult for me to continue watching...both times.**
Okay, enough spoilers! Once I forced myself past the point mentioned in the paragraphs above, I managed to enjoy the rest of the movie, for the most part...except the parts which referenced the above incident. Linda Lavin was glorious as Zoe's grandmother, and we even got Tom Bosley thrown in for good measure! They were absolutely adorable as a couple.
I would have given this movie hands-down rave reviews up one side and down the other with the full amount of stars I could give if it hadn't been for my point mentioned above. But still and all? You definitely should see this movie. Lopez and O'Loughlin are brilliant together. They are both incredible actors with lots of talent and a gift for making you love their characters.
And for those of you who are die-hard 'Five-0' fans, there's nothing better than seeing the man you watch on TV every week doing something different. O'Loughlin fans the world `round, who've followed him for his entire career, will tell you, "Eh, we always knew he was that talented." For those of you who don't yet know, buy this movie and find out for yourselves.
There are just some things in here that go a little too far; things that men don't really need to know, (and the only reason I didn't give this movie 5 stars.) But, the rest of the story is wonderful. It's a very down-to-earth love story that will make you feel good.
It only has one sex scene, (which matters to me) & it's really not even a sex scene; but it IS funny!
I do recommend this story - especially if you're looking for a lighthearted movie that will make you laugh.
Lopez wasn't her best, I agree. She seemed to be floating throughout the story with no real depth, but that's probably because the movie wasn't real deep either. $3.99 on demand was a fair price for a few hours.
However, the better twist to the story would have been her boyfriend was the sperm donor. That would have made it far more heartfelt knowing the children were really his. What would be the possibilities? Endless.